The Connection We Share | Amanda Radford

The Connection We Share: Growth and Threads

My work for the past year has focused on the idea of connection, and investigating the complexity of relationships we cultivate. I have found my role in the lives of others to have grown with me and changed to become something unrecognizable from what it was. This line of contemplation led me to thinking about my relationship with my natural landscape, especially the ones I frequented as a child with my father. My connection with nature was never one for deep exploration, until I discovered the hidden universe that is the Wood Wide Web, networks of mycorrhizal fungi between tree roots. 

My project The Connection We Share, is a two part series. The first is Growth, a collection of layered monotypes placed together into one large composition. The second is Threads, a series of multi-media shadow boxes using antique windows with beeswax mushrooms, embroidery floss, and layered monotype prints.

Growth, layered monotype prints on rag paper, 17′ by 8′, 2020

Threads, 27″ by 38″, mixed media (beeswax, embroidery floss, monotype prints on rag paper, antique window), 2020

Threads, lit from within

Growth

The research for this collection led me in many different directions, and melded together into something that feels like a connection with nature and the home. This was my starting point for Growth; I was remembering the nature walks my father took my brother and I on throughout our childhood. My father and I share a complicated relationship, and these excursions have become moments of contemplation for me now. The walks through overgrown forests where there wouldn’t be another person for a hundred kilometers were incredible, they felt both hugely isolating and beautiful. The abundance of nature and the total feeling of aloneness I experienced during these treks was the inspiration point for both Growth and Threads.

I wanted to explore these feelings through abstract shapes and images; with monotypes I could think of a memory and feel my way through it by creating with ink on a plate. When viewing Growth, I want the audience to feel pulled in and surrounded by imagery they can’t quite place, but feel a sense of nostalgic connection.

Threads

Threads is about my complicated relationship with my father and the way I have been reconciling with it. The relationship my father and I share can be mirrored in the nature of the threads mycelium create in connecting trees to each other. Although growing separately and apart from each other, tree roots are connected by tiny threads of mycelium fungus. These tiny points of connection are all that my father and I had for many years; our relationship broken apart but still finding ways back to each other, sometimes in a way that could be called parasitic. The cultivation of our relationship through years of maturation and therapy have led us to be more firmly connected and yet still apart for our own good.

There is a haunting nature to the window box. The shadows play together with the lights and allow the mushrooms to glow and appear to be growing with life inside them. This changing nature reflects how my father and I’s relationship has evolved over time, crumbling and rotting in some ways; in others, creating a new sense of life and intrigue. Like the act of looking through the glass, memory can be subject to distance and spectatorship; this same performance takes up much of my current relationship with my father. The feeling of comfortable nostalgia can be pulled from the use of his window; by appropriating a part of our shared history I can rewrite a more updated version of our complicated story. 

ABOUT AMANDA RADFORD

Amanda Radford is a Canadian printmaker and illustrator based in White Rock, B.C. She is now a BFA graduate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, majoring in Visual Arts. During her time at ECUAD, she studied in many forms of printmaking, and found a passion for monotypes.

Although there is no end goal currently, Radford continues to broaden her education and artistic practice outside of printmaking. Recent work includes creating handmade books and beeswax sculptures.

amandaradford.com

@meandacat on Instagram

Email: aradfordarts@gmail.com